Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The virtues of deadpan delivery

Mel Tormé was a magnificent singer and composer, but you may not know of one of his recordings unless you're a fan of the obscure and twisted.

On Was (Not Was)'s album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, the closing track, "Zaz Turned Blue", is a gorgeously arranged ballad about a young man who was choked and who may or may not have suffered brain damage as a result. Tormé sings it beautifully and utterly straight, and that's what makes it work. Playing it for laughs would have been totally wrong.

....and I had a point, or at least another example, and I've utterly forgotten what it was. Ah, well--at the very least, do find and give a listen to "Zaz Turned Blue." It's worth your while.

UPDATE: David Was wrote a short article for NPR about how the song came to be, with a link to Torm
é's wonderful performance.


Monk Zymurgy said...

So far, I can only find a PJ Harvey cover of this beautiful song..I can see by peoples comments the Original is the best. So, I guess I hit eBay for the original. Thank You.

Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

I updated with a link to an article that in turn links to the original. Enjoy.

Cid said...

OMG, someone else with a taste for good music! You my friend, are a rare and special breed hahaha. Mel Torme is one of those great jazz singers that will unfortunately remain unknown to the vast majority of people, because unfortunately, no one listens to jazz

Anonymous said...

Doesn't that album also have Ozzy Osbourne singing with Leonard Cohen?